Synopsis: Elliot must choose between job offers from Evil Corp, and fsociety.
It occurs to me that this episode revolved around extremes. Much like the famous opening sequence of Rear Window, Elliot finds himself surrounded by people that are walking cautionary tales of all the things he might become. (Incidentally, there is something distinctly Hitchcockian about the opening titles as well).
Elliot is confronted first by Tyrell, the Scandinavian interim CEO of Evil Corp, who wants him to hack for them illegally in exchange for obscene amounts of money. Second, by Mr. Robot, who wants him to blow up a gas pipeline in order to take out the data storage facility where all of Evil Corp’s backup files are stored, and finally by Fernando, the scum-of-the-earth thug, drug-dealer and rapist, who likes to Tweet in code about his crimes.
All of these represent people and ideals that Elliot despises. Mr. Robot and his team of anarchists have revealed themselves as willing to accept collateral damage that Elliot will not, even though he agrees with their endgame. A job at Evil Corp would give Elliot a way to destroy the files without blowing anything up, but he’d be betraying his friends and working for the company that killed his father.
The drug dealer echoes Elliot’s increasingly hard to manage drug problem, and his fear of loss of control. He is faced with the dilemma of wanting to turn him in for being a despicable person, even though that would mean losing his supply. He’s forced to, briefly, see himself as one of the faceless onlookers to society who does nothing in the face of corruption – the type of people Mr. Robot had warned him about in the previous scene. He decides to turn him in.
All of these are people Elliot might become if he’s not careful. An apathetic drug addict, a corporate drone, or so entrenched in his vigilanteism that collateral damage becomes acceptable.
It’s brilliant that the second episode, rather than just showing Elliot going to work for Mr. Robot, presented Mr. Robot and his band of merry misfits as something much darker than we thought. It also immediately put Elliot in the position of possibly going to work for Evil Corp, which is pretty much the one thing no one would ever have thought possible given the first episode.
Elliot may end up working for people he believed to be the enemy, because those he thought were friends turned out to be something else entirely. Good and Evil are becoming blurred. Mr. Robot tells Elliot he’s either a 1 or a 0, in or out. Elliot tells him the world isn’t binary. Later though, Elliot tells his therapist that everything seems to come down to a choice between two crappy things (the two job offers).
Which segues nicely into the set-up of our true villain – Creepy hipster guy hanging out on corners giving out demo CDs that are actually spyware; stealing people’s files and watching them through their webcams.
You bet your britches when Elliot finds out about that he’s going to be all over it. But first, he has to deal with the minor inconvenience of Mr. Robot straight-up shoving him off a pier and thirty feet down into garbage and jagged rocks.
I submit an alternative title for this episode: B*tches Be Crazy.